How to Be Sawed in Half is the name of an apparently Tempest-inspired world premiere opening Aug. 26 (after Aug. 24-25 previews) at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago.
Flow Arts will present the Thirteenth Tribe production of Hurt McDermott's play, directed by Joanna Settle. Hurt previously wrote under the name Jim McDermott, and won a Jeff Citation for WarHawks & Lindberghs.
How to Be Sawed in Half is an intermissionless 90 minute, "site specific, adult play with complex magic and enchantment that goes spectacularly awry when the assistant, Calibana, rebels against her magician, Prospero (the deposed Duke of Magic), and tries to take over the show."
Rachel Sledd is Calibana and George A. Wilson is Prospero.
Caliban and Prospero are the names of the servant and master, respectively, in Shakespeare's The Tempest. The piece is described as [a] verbal/visual journey" concerning tricks of memory and broken illusions culminating in a fading master's "final attempt" at magic and his assistant's "final surprise." Previews play Aug. 24-25. Performances continue to Sept. 24.
Designers are Stephanie Nelson (set), Gwen Grossman (lighting), Stacy Ellen Rich (costume) and Mark Messing (sound). Magic advisor is Cheryl Ross Mitchell.
Tickets are $18-$25. Thursday is pay-what-you-can day at the box office on day of the performance. Athenaeum is at 2936 N. Southport in Chicago. For information, call (312) 902-1500.
Thirteenth Tribe's mission is to "produce vital and contemporary works for the theatre, including the classics, new scripts, premiere translations and original stage adaptations. In striving to meet this mission, the company combines local talent with artists from across the U.S. in a potent, professional working environment, creating work that is distinctly driven by the sharply choreographed interplay of all theatrical elements."
-- By Kenneth Jones